How to Transfer High Schools

Do you currently attend another high school or do you intend to do so soon? Are you concerned about how this will impact your high school records, your graduation date, and how colleges will perceive your college applications? Then you should read this guide!

Continue reading to find out how to switch high schools, what it means for your future, and the steps you can take to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.

What Does Changing High Schools Mean? How Can the Process Be Started?

What does it actually mean when someone says they are changing schools? Transferring high schools entails dropping out of one high school and enrolling in a new one. This excludes middle school graduation followed by entry into high school, which is a typical academic progression and not regarded as transferring.

Transferring can happen at any time during the academic year, but it usually happens over the summer. Transfer procedures vary between states and schools, and the amount of work required varies depending on whether you’re moving to a new school district or staying in the same one.

The transfer procedure usually starts with submitting an application to the school you want to attend, but your parents and people at both your old and new schools will probably help guide you through it. You will require your parent or guardian to submit your transfer request if you are under the age of 18. Transcripts from your current high school as well as some identifying information, residency documentation, and medical forms are frequently requested in transfer applications.

Although not all transfer requests are approved, they are more likely to be if you ask for one because you are moving or because of a serious problem, like bullying. Generally speaking, switching schools is simpler for underclassmen than for upperclassmen.

What Takes Place After You Receive Transfer Approval?

Transferring takes time, so you frequently need to apply a few weeks or months in advance of wanting to change schools. Until your transfer request is granted and you begin at your new school, you must attend your current school.

You can take placement tests after getting permission to enroll in a new school to ensure that you are enrolled in the right classes. You will meet with an academic adviser before or as soon as you begin classes at your new school, who will assist you in creating a schedule.

Many schools host unofficial get-togethers for freshmen to introduce them to other students and to learn more about the institution. You are a full-fledged student at your new school as soon as your application is accepted, and you can join or try out for various sports and clubs. You should definitely do this because joining extracurricular activities is a great way to make new friends and feel more a part of your new school.

Why Do Students Change High Schools?

What prompts students to change high schools? The three most frequent explanations for switching high schools are listed below.

1. they relocate to a new location

This is by far the most frequent reason for high school transfers. You frequently cannot continue your studies at your current school when your parents relocate.

This can involve moving across the country or just to the next town over. These transfer requests are almost always granted because moving out of the area can make it impossible for a student to continue attending their current school and is something that high school students have little control over.

However, it’s best to start this process early if you know you will be moving in the future. If the move is sudden, many schools can make accommodations so that you can start attending classes right away (lucky you!).

2. They Discover a Specific School They Want to Attend

Sometimes, even if you aren’t moving, you might still want to transfer to a different high school because you prefer it to your current one. The new school may offer superior academics, extracurricular activities, or a different teaching approach that you prefer. Additionally, it’s possible that you were admitted to a selective high school into which you had to submit an application.

Be aware that your district may have specific policies regarding what reasons are acceptable for transferring if you attempt to transfer from one school in your district to another. Your request for a transfer might not always be granted.

3. Justification: They dislike their present school

In other situations, you may not want to transfer because you already have a great school in mind, but rather because you no longer want to attend your current institution. This might occur if a pupil feels bullied, has a hard time making friends, or struggles to learn from the school’s teaching methodology. Rarely, a student may also be expelled from school due to disciplinary issues.

Frequently Asked Questions by Students Transferring to a High School

Even after your transfer request has been granted, there is still work to be done! Transferring can throw your high school plans for a loop, but if you are aware of the difficulties you may face and make early preparations for how you will handle them, you will lessen unpleasant surprises and frustrations down the road. Three of the most frequent inquiries about transferring high schools are listed below, along with suggestions for preventing issues with each.

Will All of My Previous Credits Transfer to My New School?

You probably won’t run into any problems if you are transferring from one public school to another within the same state. Not all of your credits might transfer over if you move to a new state or change from a public to a private school (or vice versa).

The majority of the time, your classes will transfer just fine, but occasionally, one or more of your classes won’t be accepted by your new school. This usually occurs because those classes don’t adhere to the standards set by your new school, such as covering all necessary material, meeting for the necessary number of hours, or including all necessary exams.

If this occurs, your new school won’t give you credit for the course, it won’t appear on your new transcript, and it will seem (to your new school) as if you never took it. You might have to take more classes to make up for the credits that didn’t transfer if enough of your classes don’t transfer, which could push back the date when you graduate.

How to Reduce Issues

Because you aren’t receiving credit for classes you have taken and passed, this can be frustrating. The majority of students don’t have a problem with this, and even if they do, you’ll probably have enough other credits to avoid having to take summer classes or put off your graduation.

Right after enrolling in your new school, speak with your new academic adviser to find out if any of your previous credits didn’t transfer and, if so, what impact that will have on you. Talk to your adviser if you feel you should receive credit for a particular course. Schools frequently have some latitude in terms of the classes they accept.

Will My Grade Point Average Remain the Same?

Understandably, many high school transfer students worry about how their GPA will change when they change schools. Will they maintain their present GPA? Will it be entirely wiped clean when they transfer to a new school?

The short answer is that it depends on your new school; each institution has a different policy regarding how transfer students’ GPAs are handled. However, one of two things will typically occur: either your current GPA will remain unchanged and only change when you receive new grades at your new school, or your new school will recalculate your current GPA to conform to their grading standards. For instance, if your new school does not award pluses and minuses, but your old school did, your new school may recalculate your GPA to remove those pluses and minuses in order to make it consistent with the GPA grading patterns of the other students. If this does occur, it probably won’t have a significant impact on your GPA, so try not to stress out too much about it.

How to Reduce Issues

The best course of action in this situation is to speak with your new guidance counselor to find out if and how transferring will impact your GPA. Do this as soon as you can so that everyone is on the same page and you aren’t caught off guard when your GPA isn’t what you anticipated when the semester’s grades are released.

Will transferring high schools have an impact on my college applications?

Students occasionally fear that changing schools and having two transcripts will hurt their college applications. The good news is that switching high schools won’t hurt your chances of getting accepted to college on its own. Colleges are aware that students frequently have no control over whether they transfer schools, as it is a common occurrence (such as if your parents decide to move).

Transcripts from each high school you attended will typically need to be submitted, but colleges are accustomed to this and will accept it. Transferring high schools won’t harm your college applications unless your grades significantly declined or you did so for disciplinary or behavior-related reasons.

How to Reduce Issues

Transferring high schools typically won’t cause you any problems when you apply to colleges. However, colleges might be hesitant to accept you if your grades significantly declined before and/or after you transferred, or if you were expelled or had other serious disciplinary issues.

Being honest and clear about the problem is the best defense against it. You can include this in your personal statement, or many schools have a section on their applications where applicants can add any other details they’d like the school to know. When you give an explanation, be truthful about what occurred and provide specific examples of your progress since then.

How Do I Meet the New Graduation Requirements, Question 4?

You might discover that the graduation requirements at your new school are different from those at your old school. Since state-specific high school graduation requirements are frequently established, this is particularly likely to occur if your new high school is located in a different state.

Meeting these new graduation requirements can occasionally cause your schedule to appear a little off. For instance, I attended high school in Illinois, where every high school graduate is required to take a driver’s education course (the driving portion is optional if you don’t intend to get your license). Two 18-year-old men who had transferred from a state that didn’t mandate driver’s education were in my class. These students were forced to enroll in a fundamental driving course even though they had been licensed and driving for two years.

How to Reduce Issues

Once more, speak with your academic adviser right away to find out what the graduation requirements are at your new school. Plan your course load with your advisor for each semester up until graduation. In order to graduate on time, if you need to take additional classes, see if you can take them over the summer. Taking an online course could also help you meet requirements for things like typing or health. You’ll be able to stay on track and prevent any surprises when it’s time to graduate if you figure this out early.


Even though switching high schools can seem difficult and stressful, it doesn’t have to be. Research how the transfer will impact various academic areas, such as your transcript, course credits, and graduation requirements, as soon as your transfer request has been approved.

Work on creating class schedules early on with your adviser and the instructors at your new school so that you are aware of the courses you must take and the anticipated graduation date. If you are ready and aware of what to anticipate, switching high schools should be a simple process.

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